6 Reasons to See a Cosmetic Surgeon

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
smiling female patient and doctor

There are many reasons to consult a cosmetic surgeon. As people age, they may develop wrinkles or sagging skin. Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman's body. Being overweight can hurt self-esteem. Cosmetic or plastic surgeons can help people who want to improve their appearance. There is no "ideal" body shape or size, but surgery could help some people gain confidence. It might also improve their enjoyment and quality of life. Here's a look at some common cosmetic procedures and tips for choosing the right specialist:

Breast Reshaping

As women age, their breasts may sag or lose volume. Breasts may also lose their shape after pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, and breastfeeding. Nipples may droop and become stretched. A breast lift can correct these issues. The surgeon can remove excess skin from each breast and adjust the position of the areolas, if necessary. Breasts will appear firmer and look more youthful. Also, some women want larger breasts. This is breast augmentation. The surgeon adds implants or fat tissue to make the breasts bigger. 

Facial or Body Contouring Implants

Facial implant surgery can change the contour of the face or certain facial features. A facial implant can alter features you're not happy with. They can correct a small chin or enhance the jaw line or cheekbones. They can also change the shape of the buttocks. A surgeon can put implants or body fat in the buttocks to make them rounder and fuller. Other names for this procedure are buttocks augmentation and Brazilian butt lift.  

Reducing Signs of Aging

A facelift can reduce signs of aging, such as sagging skin and loss of definition in the face and neck. Procedures can remove folds in the middle of the face, bags on the upper and lower eyelids, and drooping around the mouth. A surgeon can perform a lift on specific trouble spots, such as the brow or forehead.

Removing Scars

Cosmetic surgeons perform scar removal surgery to improve the appearance of scars and other minor skin flaws. These include birthmarks, warts, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. The surgeon may use a laser to improve the skin's appearance. The laser removes the outer layer of skin and heats up the skin underneath. This triggers the growth of new collagen fibers. The result is smoother, firmer skin.

Removing Excess Body Fat

Sometimes a healthy diet and regular exercise aren't enough to get rid of unwanted fat. You can have a certain amount of fat removed surgically. Fat removal is available for the belly, buttocks, thighs, cheeks, hips, ankles, knees, upper arms and neck. A tummy tuck, for instance, involves removing both fat and skin from the belly. At the same time, the surgeon can repair weak abdominal muscles. Liposuction is another fat removal technique. The surgeon breaks up and dislodges fat with a special tool. Then the surgeon uses a surgical vacuum to remove it from the body. 

Removing Excess Skin

People who've lost a very large amount of weight may want body contouring to get rid of loose skin. Removing unwanted skin and reshaping the supportive tissue underneath can create a smoother, more pleasing appearance. Body contouring cosmetic procedures can target upper arms and thighs as well as the stomach, breasts and face. 

Choosing a Surgeon

Take time to research surgeons before having any type of cosmetic surgery. You want to pick a surgeon with the right qualifications. He or she should be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). This means the doctor completed at least five years of training as a surgeon and additional training in plastic or cosmetic surgery. 

To be board certified, plastic surgeons have to pass certain tests. There is one key difference between the two certifications. Board-certified plastic surgeons may perform both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Board-certified cosmetic surgeons focus only on cosmetic procedures. Keep in mind that board certification is not required for doctors to practice medicine. Obtaining these designations shows a high level of commitment and expertise.

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  15. Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/body-contouring-after-major-weight-loss.html
  16. Buttock Augmentation. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/buttock-augmentation.html
  17. Facial Implants. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/facial-implants.html
  18. Breast Augmentation. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-augmentation.html
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Aug 8
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